BT-50 EFS Suspension

Submitted: Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 21:08
ThreadID: 118913 Views:4673 Replies:8 FollowUps:1
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Hi,

I've recently purchased a new Jayco Outback Starcraft and also purchased a BT-50.

My wife and I are taking our 3 year old around Australia for 12 months to get away for a while.

I'm looking to upgrade the suspension in the BT-50 adding a 2 inch lift but trying to keep it as comfortable as possible. I know I'm not going to get a car like ride but would like to keep the ride as comfortable as possible. No bone jarring stiff rear suspension.

I'm just wondering about the EFS range for the BT50 and what it's like against the standard suspension.

Our van is 2400kg atm with a ball weight of around 150kgs.

Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.
Thanks
Matt
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Reply By: Member - meatman61 - Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 22:55

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 22:55
Hi Matty.
I see you have a 2400kg van, so am assuming you very likely wont be doing off-road stuff with it.
If you dont need the lift for ground clearance, poly-airbags on the rear, are an excellent way to level your vehicle, (for the extra tow-ball weight, and gear packed in the ute).
They dont make for a significant increase in ride harshness.
If you want to go for the 2"lift, i havent had EFS fitted, but have got a medium spring /shocker 2" OME kit, on our Prado 150, and it has improved the ride very nicely, without being harsh.
Hope this helps a bit
Trev
AnswerID: 553987

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 05:52

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 05:52
Trev, if Matty has a crew cab, he should perhaps consider airbags carefully, given the potential problems they can have with excess rear loading and chassis bending.
Highly probably that the Rangers / BT50s (would be PX equivalent you have Matty ?) are much stronger than the Tritons, which seem to have the chassis bending problem more so.

I would go a leaf upgrade, but not necessarily EFS or other branding, you might only need an upgrade from a spring specialist, say an extra thin leaf or two to give more height, and keep ride comfort.

Having Rancho 9000 shocks on the PK Ranger, I find it great to be able to dial up a low setting when on extended corrugated roads.
With lowered tyre pressures, it makes them a whole lot nicer to drive.
Lowering tyre pressures on the van will give you similar results in the van, maybe even consider such adjustable shocks for that, they are only a few seconds each to adjust.

Anyway, a year off and tour of Oz ?
Enjoy.
1
FollowupID: 839915

Reply By: Member - DW Lennox Head(NSW) - Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 05:56

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 05:56
Matt

DO NOT use airbags on a leaf spring vehicle for leveling but they are OK for coil springs. I had airbags on a Mazda Bravo and used them for leveling and eventually bent my chassis in the wrong location, Bungle Bungle. I had a similar ball weight.

On that Bravo, I eventually put an Aussie Super Spring set up on it. It gave me all I wanted. Very easy to fir yourself. http://atecoequipment.com.au/atecoproduct/supersprings/

There are various levels of springs that you can get. Find a reputable spring supplier in your area. Ask around the local 4wd clubs for help. I have no idea where you live.

Enjoy your trip.

Duncan



AnswerID: 553990

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 08:48

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 08:48
Matt,

Received this email the other day, re dual cab suspensions. Have bought shockies from them, and a fridge, and their service is excellent. Have the adjustable shocks in the rear of my Landcruiser, and the "new" foam units in the front.......rides quite well with the heavy duty springs.

Dual Cab Suspensions

The Add-a-Leaf option may be all you need?

Bob

Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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AnswerID: 553997

Reply By: gbc - Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 16:15

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 16:15
My px ranger had pretty woeful factory springs for load carrying but so have all my other utes. We have started using our local Midas for 4wd suspension. My ute got the 2" comfort lift. We tow a similar van to yours (compass navigator), and I find it a great setup for both empty and full.
AnswerID: 554013

Reply By: Maggsie - Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 18:20

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 18:20
Hello,
I have 2013 PX Supercab with the 2" lift EFS suspension, also airbags in the rear. I have added an extra leaf as well. The car is now fitted with a tray and purpose built canopy that probably weighs @ 400kg with all the gear inside, I tow a 2 tonne van and have had no issues in 60000klms. This includes travels to Cape York, Outback Way , NT and s/west WA over some rugged terrain. The car maintains a slight nose down position loaded or empty.
Regards
Maggsie

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AnswerID: 554018

Reply By: 671 - Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 20:37

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 20:37
Matt

Regarding lifts: If you are absolutely certain you need one then ok but if you just think you will need it to tour the country because of magazine stories or whatever, then chances are you don’t. You can drive over about 99% of the unsealed roads or tracks in this country without one.

If you do change the springs then don’t do one end only. It is common to see cars with a stock front suspension and a stiffer rear. That can easily change the handling characteristics from the factory designed understeer to making it prone to going into sudden oversteer. That is the last thing you want with a big van on the back. Do the same to both ends if you must change anything.

Be careful with weight distribution when loading the car. If the car is a dual cab then chances are the combined weight of you and your wife plus your three year old will be around one third of the maximum carrying capacity of the five seats. This is often the case with many families. They then start loading the rear of the car while thinking only about its high carrying capacity at the expense of correct weight distribution.

This often ends up with them cursing the stock suspension because the rear is sagging and the car is still a few hundred kilos under maximum. They solve the problem by jacking it up with another suspension. The car now looks nice and level and maybe even rides better but it is still overloaded at the rear. That can, and far too often does, lead to a lot of inconvenient and expensive problems.

If you are new to caravans then you may find the links below useful.

http://www.4x4australia.com.au/drive/1504/bent-utes/

http://rvsupertramp.com.au/Resources/Articles/Caravan-Dynamics

http://caravanbuyersguide.com.au/tow-vehicle-caravan-weight/

http://caravanandmotorhomebooks.com/why-wheels-fall-off-caravans/
AnswerID: 554026

Reply By: Matty_turbo - Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 21:12

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 21:12
Thanks everyone for your information.

I've spoken to alot of suspension places on the Sunshine Coast recently and they all seemed keen on selling me some huge $2500+ kit.

However I came across a suspension place that does the EFS kits and he said he sells alot of them. Around 2-3 per week. He suggested adding the Elite shocks in the front, resetting the factory leafs and adding the Elite shocks in the rear. He said he can then add an extra leaf if needed later. That gives you your 30-40mm raise. It will be slightly rougher but nowhere near as bad as the other kits. He said people complained that the EFS's leaf's were too severe. Seemed to make alot of sense to me.

I don't plan on carrying too much stuff in the car when travelling. It will just be a some tools, recovery gear, small 60L fridge, Honda Generator and Weber Q. No drawers in the Tub. The caravan has dual axles and 17inch off-road tyres with a downball weight of 150kgs. I also plan on having a WDH.

Thanks
Matt
AnswerID: 554029

Reply By: Crammo - Friday, May 22, 2015 at 09:23

Friday, May 22, 2015 at 09:23
I could be you don't need an upgrade at all.

We tow a 2.7t caravan with a 2013 BT50, coming up to 40,000 km now. Fully loaded and with the van on the standard suspension copes fine. After all they are work Utes designed to carry more than 1t.

I sometimes wonder where this perceived need to change things comes from. I suspect a lot of it is sales spin from those in the aftermarket suspension industry trying to sell you something you don't need to increase their profits.

Any changes you make will void your warranty as well. Don't even think about air bags with leaf springs.

Put the van on and try it.
AnswerID: 554069

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